Our last #ScoreUniformEmergence post leads us to the importance of seed-to-soil contact. This is another component in producing crops that emerge evenly. Seed-to-soil contact has mostly to do with residue in the soil. Our last post touched on how important even soil moisture was for the kernel to get water when it’s needed. In order to have the soil moisture you need, good seed-to-soil contact is vital.
There are different things that prevent the seed from having a solid connection with the soil. Trash, clods, rocks, and air all fall into that category. Surface trash clings to the seed furrow during no-till planting when conditions are too wet for proper coulter cutting action. Working soil while it is too wet is the main reason for clods. Planting into cloddy fields has the ability to create uneven emergence. Seed-to-air contact is also caused by no-till planting into wet soils.
We have compiled a list of recommendations for growers to think about this year:
• Check that your planter is set at a uniform depth and uniform soil cover
• Make sure seed handling parts are working correctly
• Adjust closing wheels so that they firm the soil around the seed, but leave loose soil on top of the seed; you may have to adjust them according to each field
• Avoid pinched residue and remember that residue usually means colder soil temperatures as well
• Watch your planting speed
• Stay clear of planting in wet conditions
• In no till fields, consider chopping heads and chaff spreaders during harvest which may help
• Vertical tillage and row cleaners in the spring can have big impacts on clearing residue
We want growers to get the absolute most out of their inputs. While having a good herbicide program is essential, remembering the things that seem minor could lead to major yield gains for you. If you do end up having uneven emergence, replanting will probably not increase yields by much. Research does show, however; that if half the plants in the stand emerge 3 weeks late or later, replanting may increase yields up to 10%.
We hope that these posts have been informative on the importance of uniform emergence. We also hope they have given you the knowledge and motivation to score uniform emergence this year. Below we have references for the previous emergence posts: